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Ancestry of the Coralline Algae

J. Harlan Johnson
Journal of Paleontology
Vol. 30, No. 3 (May, 1956), pp. 563-567
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1300291
Page Count: 6
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Abstract

Most of the Recent genera of coralline algae date back to the Late Cretaceous or Early Tertiary. Little is known regarding their ancestry. The view has been generally held that the ancestral stock was to be found in the Paleozoic family Solenoporaceae. The primitive genus Archaeolithothamnium was supposed to represent a transitional stage between the solenoporaceas and the more highly developed Recent genera. It is, therefore, highly interesting to note that some Pennsylvanian algae recently studied show structures much more closely allied to the Recent genus Lithophyllum than any known among the Solenoporaceae. These structures include well-defined hypothallic and perithallic tissues, a co-axial hypothallus, and conceptacles of sporangia. Other recent finds from Lower Pennsylvanian limestones include abundant debris of a form having structural features suggestive of articulated coralline algae. It is suggested that the separation of the two types of coralline algae (the crustose and the articulated) may date back to Paleozoic times, and that the two main groups of the crustose corallines (Lithothamnium-type and Lithophyllum-type) are equally ancient.

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